|Norton to Offer Amendment to Defense Approps Bill to Study Effects of Formerly Used Defense Sites|
Norton to Offer Amendment to Defense Appropriations Bill to Study Health Effects of Formerly Used Defense Site in Spring Valley
July 6, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today will offer an amendment on the House floor to the Defense Appropriations bill to provide the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) with $1 million to study the health effects of the Spring Valley Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) located in upper Northwest Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia government has set aside $250,000 of its own money to do a follow-up to a 2007 city-funded health study on Spring Valley, even though clean-up of the Spring Valley FUDS is the federal government's responsibility. The city estimates that it needs $750,000 to complete the new study. Under House Rules, Members may no longer earmark funds to a specific jurisdiction or project. However, Norton's amendment would require the study or studies to be done of FUDSs in cities with more than 500,000 residents where chemical agents were tested. Spring Valley appears to be the only FUDS that meets that definition.
Norton, who has worked for years to ensure that the World War I munitions at Spring Valley are located and properly removed or destroyed, recently spoke out against an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 that would have cut $197 million for FUDSs. In January, Norton visited the Spring Valley site where the Army Corps began destroying approximately 100 conventional munitions recovered in Spring Valley. In 2009, she got the Corps, for the first time, to release the full list of munitions and toxins found at the site during the last 18 years. The findings included three chemicals -- 75 mm arsine projectiles, a 75 mm mustard gas projectile, and a 75 mm lewisite projectile -- among other projectiles and shrapnel. Since munitions were first discovered there in 1993, Norton has toured Spring Valley sites several times, has held a series of community meetings and congressional hearings, and has witnessed the destruction of the munitions to ensure the appropriate precautions are taken in the cleanup of the site. "I am committed to holding the Army Corps to its promise to remain at the site until all munitions are indentified and removed or destroyed," Norton said. "Thankfully, studies have shown that the overall community health status of Spring Valley is good, but we need to continue to monitor the health of residents who reside near the site."